With the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2019 being around the corner, the Indian team selection panel led by chief selector, MSK Prasad, the Indian team captain, Virat Kohli and the Head coach of the Indian Cricket team, Ravi Shastri announced the provisional 15 man squad who will be representing India in the much awaited carnival of cricket being hosted by England & Wales in the months of June and July.
The squad announced is as follows: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd. Shami.
With the announcement of the squad, several queries and speculations were answered, although, one or two major miss outs raised many eyebrows. The selection of Dinesh Karthik over Rishabh Pant and leaving out Ambati Rayudu from the squad have led to several debates. The chief selector justified the selection of Dinesh Karthik due to the difference of wicket keeping skills between the two keepers. However, the consistently poor performance of Rayudu in the overseas tours might’ve led to his exclusion.
However, the announced Indian squad seems to be settled. It will not be surprising that India will be heavily dependent on their top order batsmen to score the majority of the runs and why not? India boasts with one of the most formidable top 4 for the upcoming world cup. With the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, even a target of 350+ runs might seem like a cakewalk! However, Vijay Shankar, who has had a phenomenal campaign in the past 8-9 months, might give Rahul some competition for the number 4 contention.
As we move towards the middle order, the responsibility of stabilizing the innings and finishing it with a bang will be taken care of by the most experienced cricketer in the squad, MSD, along with either Kedar Jadhav or Dinesh Karthik. If everything goes well till the death overs, Hardik Pandya might get a green flag to go full throttle from ball 1 and provide India a cracker of a finish. The number 6 spot could also be filled in by Ravindra Jadeja, who is one of the most economical spin all-rounders and arguably the best fielder in cricket right now.
With the inclusion of the spin twins, Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, along with the frontline Pacers, Jasprit Bumrah, B. Kumar and Mohd. Shami, there’s hardly any weak link in the bowling department.
Bhuvneshwar, who can swing the new ball both the ways and Shami, who can hit the deck hard with his strong bowling action, might enjoy bowling in the English conditions. The middle overs responsibility will be on either of the spinners, the ‘golden armed ’ part-timer Jadhav and Hardik Pandya, who could prove to be a nifty seamer in the given conditions. The death overs will be taken care of by the number 1 ODI bowler, J. Bumrah.
Thus, keeping the recent form in mind and the adaptability of particular players in the English conditions, My probable playing XI will be:
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Rohit Sharma (vc)
- Virat Kohli (c)
- Vijay Shankar
- MS Dhoni (wk)
- Kedar Jadhav/ Ravindra Jadeja
- Hardik Pandya
- Yuzvendra Chahal/ Kuldeep Yadav
- Mohd. Shami
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
- Jasprit Bumrah
It will be a must-win World Cup for the Indian players, as they not only have to win it for their fans around the globe but also bid a proper farewell to arguably India’s greatest cricketer in terms of captaincy, game reading skills and his unique ability to finish games, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.